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#TBT: Sarah Wayne Callies

See a rare behind-the-scenes image from the early days of The Walking Dead

It used to be that when a beloved television show ended, fans were forced to mourn their favorite characters and move on. More and more nowadays, shows of yesterday (but not too long ago) are getting rebooted. In the last few months, fans have tuned in to new versions of their favorite series like 24 and The Good Wife, and now, Prison Break.

Sarah Wayne Callies (who also stars as Katie Bowman on USA’s Colony) is currently reprising her role as Dr. Sara Tancredi on the nine-episode drama, a prequel beginning seven years before episode one of the series. In the spirit of looking to the past, we asked the actress to share a memorable moment from her career with DuJour. Below, she tells us the story behind the snapshot taken while she filmed season two of The Walking Dead with castmate Jeff Demun.


Where was this picture taken?

We were sitting on the back of a truck after lunch. It was pretty early on in the second season. Melissa [McBride] was sort of our unofficial photographer. I think I had a Blackberry Pearl at the time. I don’t even know if that phone took pictures. I certainly was not on Instagram or anything. Social media didn’t really matter to any of us, except, I think, probably Norman, who was way ahead of that curve. So Melissa would just bring her camera maybe once a month. These images were just gold to all of us because, at least for me, they’re the only images I have from the show. There are publicity shots and stuff, but the ones that are behind the scenes were taken by kind of family members. We were family. I mean, Jeff is a dear, dear friend.

That show has such a cult following. What are the fans like?

You know, it’s interesting. There is definitely a segment of our demographic that is probably what you’re imagining: the sort of comic-con, dedicated, “I have a tattoo of this zombie on my calf” kind of a fan. That kind is amazing. You get a kind of immediate feedback about how they feel you are representing a story and characters that matter to them. But what fascinates me about The Walking Dead is that the number of fans that I’ve met who are nowhere near the demographic you’d expect. A white woman in her seventies stopped me at Whole Foods. I don’t remember where I was, but I wasn’t in L.A. or New York. Somewhere in the middle of the United States. She just wanted to go on and on about The Walking Dead. Never in a million years would I have expected to be having a conversation with somebody’s grandmother about a show where we shoot a little girl in the face 90 seconds into the pilot. It’s not just superhero fans. It seems to have struck a larger chord.

What is your best memory from your time on the show?

You know, I’ll be honest, the memory that stuck with me the most is actually from right after I left the show. I did a play in DC, and I spent a lot of time on the phone with Andy during the rehearsal process because I hadn’t done a play in a long time and I was freaking out. He was a wonderful friend and mentor and sort of soft place to land after I would come out of rehearsal thinking, that’s it, I have to turn in my sag card and go do something else for a living. After our first preview I went backstage for notes and the stage manager said, “You have a visitor.” I went downstairs to the waiting room and the whole cast of The Walking Dead had come for my first performance. It was such an extraordinary show of solidarity. There is no group of people that it would have meant more to me to see than the family I had just left.

Did being on the show ever make you think about the end of the world?

My husband and I moved up into the country a while ago. There’s something to me, I suppose it could be a zombie apocalypse or an earthquake or a flood. It seems to me that our carefully constructed, polite society is a little bit of a house of cards. Most people don’t have actual skills anymore. If you think about the number of people that you know who could build a fire, find drinking water, or who know three plants to eat in the woods that wouldn’t get you killed, it’s a really short list for most people living in urban environments. And that’s fine, most people have other sets of skills, but about 10 years ago I decided I wanted to live some place where everybody could do all three of those things as second nature. I don’t know if that’s because I’m afraid of a zombie apocalypse but I am afraid of human ignorance.

Main image: 

Photographer: Devin Dygert

Styling: Eva Danielle

Makeup & Hair: Carolina Yasukawa

Retouching: Nadia Selander

Photo Credit Instagram Handles:

Photographer: @DevinShotMe

Styling: @LoveEvaDanielle

Makeup & Hair : @Yasulina

Retouching : @NadiaSelander